The status of education in America has a great impact on the educational achievement of urban youth. As King (2016) says, teachers can either invest in their students or give up on them (NRP). However, it often depends on whether a teacher will be interested in investing in students or not. If the state government distributes federal money to support urban schools properly and teachers receive good salaries, their motivation will be high. However, if schools are underinvested, teachers’ motivation will also decrease, and they will be more likely to give up on students instead of helping them. Thus, I agree with King (2016) that America needs more great schools, either charter or district schools, to create better opportunities for urban youth and help them attain great academic outcomes on the same level as privileged students. The main advantages of public charter schools are private funding and flexibility. They provide students with more opportunities and equity.
The stories of youth discussed in Kozol’s book reveal the problems urban students face during their education process. One of such problems is a turnover of teachers and their lack of experience. In Pineapple’s story, the girl mentioned that “twenty-eight of the fifty members of the faculty had never taught before” (Kozol, 2013, p. 173). Half of them disappeared in less than a year, so first- and second-graders had up to seven teachers per two years (Kozol, 2013). Such a turnover harms youth’s education experience because every teacher has their own teaching style, and students need some time to adjust to it. As soon as they adjust, a new teacher appears, and the process starts again. Consequently, urban youth’s knowledge level cannot be high, and they face difficulties when entering a public middle or high school.
Moreover, the group experiences of urban youth differ from those of more privileged students, and they have to adjust to changes when they enter public school and college. All these issues negatively affect urban students’ education levels, and their success will depend only on their ability to grow, learn, and deal with challenges.
Kozol, J. (2013). Fire in the ashes: Twenty-five years among the poorest children in America. Crown.
NPR. (2016). Education secretary says status quo in schools is ‘unacceptable’. Web.